Footgolf could stem decline in course use

2014-04-10T13:55:00Z 2014-04-11T09:42:21Z Footgolf could stem decline in course useKurt Allemeier kallemeier@qctimes.com The Quad-City Times

An odd fusion of golf and soccer may be the answer to declining rounds on Davenport's municipal golf courses.

Footgolf, the PGA of America's term, combines the two sports as a way of reversing the trend of fewer golfers and fewer rounds played.

Putting Iowa's first footgolf course at Red Hawk Golf Course will be put in front of the parks advisory commission at its meeting Tuesday. The cost to outfit an 18-hole course is estimated at about $3,000.

Initially, footgolf would begin with a tournament to gauge interest.

"The reason we feel it is a good idea and have support to try it is because we have so many things in place for a pilot program," interim parks and recreation director Theresa Hauman said. "We have so many soccer players, that if a small number turned to golfers that would be tremendous."

The PGA wants to attract younger players through footgolf, with 95 courses certified by the American Footgolf League.

"They were looking for a specific audience and we have the audience they were looking for," said Carlos Stremi, founder and president of the Illinois Footgolf League. "You don’t have to be a skillful soccer player. You don’t have to be a skillful golfer. If you’ve kicked a ball in your life, you can play footgolf."

Red Hawk is the logical site for a footgolf course, Hauman said, noting that it is the city's developmental course and home of the First Tee program. It also is near the city's soccer complex.

The sport has gained momentum in the Chicago suburbs, with seven golf courses adding footgolf courses. Footgolf courses are intended to be laid out on nine holes of a regulation golf course. Players try to sink a soccer ball into 21-inch diameter holes usually 30 to 40 yards from the regulation green.

Earlier this year, as aldermen considered the city budget, concern over the declining number of rounds prompted the suggestion of selling one of the city's two 18-hole golf courses.

Davenport, like other municipalities, is seeing fewer golfers on its links. By budget estimates, about 70,000 rounds of golf must be played annually to break even. The projected rounds for fiscal year 2015 are 55,746.

In Davenport, golf rounds have been declining by 5 percent annually since 2005, leading to an annual revenue decrease of 4 percent, according to city data. The numbers are more extreme since 2010, with rounds declining by 7 percent and revenue dropping at 10 percent annually.

The PGA recognized the decline in golf participation and created a task force to look at how to increase interest. Footgolf was the result.

The Illinois Footgolf league will host at least 14 tournaments this summer. Stremi said more tournaments are expected as more courses are added.

"The golf industry is really embracing footgolf," Stremi said.

The Peoria Park District plans to put in a footgolf course at Detweiler Golf Course. Stremi is scheduled to visit Peoria next week to lay out the nine-hole course.

The park district has five courses for varying skill levels but also faces the national trend of declining play. The park district staff learned about footgolf and visited a tournament in the Chicago suburbs. PGA videos and YouTube clips didn't do the sport justice.

"I said we have to do this," said Sarah Cordis, the park district's supervisor of golf operations. "There was so much buzz, so much energy."

Peoria's footgolf course will be located just a few miles away from a large soccer complex that hosts a number of tournaments during the spring and summer.

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(34) Comments

  1. Um_whatever
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    Um_whatever - April 15, 2014 10:34 am
    the problems with the Davenport courses are numerous... the reserved tee times are just ignorant.

    You give set times to old coots that buy a single cup of coffee and grumble at everyone else for enjoying the game they love and create a terrible atmosphere to play in.

    The ground is miserable at both courses (especially Emeis). Sure, it's nice when it comes to playing on a sloshy, rainy day, but the fact that my forearms hurt after a round there on a dry day (2 handicap, so it isn't me :) is ridiculous.

    The play at Emeis is slowwwwwwww

    The tees and pins at Duck Creek NEVER MOVE! Case in point, hole 11... huge green, have you ever seen the pin on the left? Have you ever seen it play more than 95 yards?

    The last few years, the greens have been completely ruined. I heard they dropped the mowers a click at both courses on the greens. Duck Creek is now just faster than it ever has been and the area around the pins is dead by noon (and again, they never really move them so the next day is just as bad). Emeis, which used to ave one saving grace, beautifully smooth and true greens rolls like an asphalt parking lot most of the time. You can see dirt through the grass on the green in many places. Just why?

    The courses are always busy with outings, leagues, school tournaments... again, these are die hard fans that don't spend money most of the time. At least alternate people in.

    The "cart girl" at Emeis now just parks between the greens on 13, 6, and 2 and reads a book. She acts like you're bugging her if you buy something.

    Last, but definitely not least, the price. The total price for a round on a public links of the quality these courses are is not good. You can play at the Arsenal (former country club) for $30 with a cart in peak season. Fyre Lake has deals all season for $35 - $40 and you get to play a well maintained Nicklaus design with some beautiful holes. Glynn's Creek, what should be considered a model course around here has always been about $35-$38... for years, and still is. Bottom line, these courses aren't worth the money they are trying to get. And by all means, figure out a season pass!

    Current Rates:
    Hidden Hills - $33
    Palmer Hills - $38
    Emeis - $38
    Fyre Lake - $35

    I know where I'd go...

    I could do this all day. These problems are common everywhere around here.
  2. 45acp
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    45acp - April 15, 2014 9:31 am
    Wow longjohn, 155 pounds and 6'... Pretty scrawny aren't ya, no wonder you have a hard time reeling in a 35 pound catfish or pulling in your anchor...

    You talk about exercise, I do tri's man. several times a week I swim 2 miles at a time, run 5 miles each time and when the weather permits I ride my bike about 100 miles a week... Dude, if I want to ride a cart when golfing to speed up play I will, none of your stinking business.

    You're the one whining about golfers and golf courses, talk your hate of the game elsewhere, just because you don't have to skill to enjoy it. Maybe you can hang around the bait shop and you'll get sympathy there.
  3. ringyourbell
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    ringyourbell - April 13, 2014 10:40 pm
    golf courses are making money. heard from a source that profits at courses are being dumped into rivers edge cause it is losing 600,000 a year. Putnam needs 100s of thousands also. river center loses huge also. and the figge, 47,000,000 (that's million) to build and huge, huge money dumped in every year. course conditions suffer cause money is being deverted and that doesn't help for people wanting to play them either.
  4. Lou Ford
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    Lou Ford - April 13, 2014 11:11 am
    Sounds pretty cool.
  5. longjohn412
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    longjohn412 - April 12, 2014 4:37 pm
    Average cart fees in 2007 were $23 ..... A mere $14 in 2014 sounds like a pretty good deal to me ....

    Greens fees - $15 to $150 for 18 holes (again 2007 prices)

    As of 2005, the NGF survey determined, the average cost of an 18-hole round was $42.70 at courses built prior to 1970, but $48.33 for courses constructed between 1970 and 1990, and $60.55 for courses built in 1990 or later.

    Quit yer whining or find a new hobby ......
  6. longjohn412
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    longjohn412 - April 12, 2014 4:15 pm
    When did I say I got paid for a sport?

    I said I got paid for some of my hobbies .... for instance I played in rock and country bands for almost 20 years ..... I repair and restore classic tube guitar amps and used to make custom pedal boards for musicians

    Those things were too much fun to be considered work, especially the band thing where you make a couple hundred extra on the weekend for hanging out and partying with people .... Filed taxes on it too but seldom had to pay any because I got to write off expenses like sound gear, guitar gear and stage apparel ..... basically I did the same things most small businesses do, if it looked like I was going to pay I'd just upgrade or buy new equipment and lower my tax liability

    I don't make any money from fishing although I have had numerous offers to become a guide including one from a guy looking to film a fishing show here this summer ..... But being a guide to me is like tournament fishing, it sucks all the fun out of it and makes it too much like work
  7. longjohn412
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    longjohn412 - April 12, 2014 3:51 pm
    If a cart costs too much then take your lazy butt for a walk.

    Golfing with a cart = no real exercise at all

    Try hauling in an 18 pound anchor once every 20-30 minutes in the Mississippi River during high water .... I bet I burn more calories in two anchor retrievals than you burn in 18 holes riding your lazy butt in an electric cart .....

    Or try spending 20-30 minutes playing out a 35 pound flathead catfish in current .....

    Not that burning calories is something I need, I have less than 10% body fat .... no pot belly or wide butt from spending all day polishing a chair ..... 6 ft and 155 pounds so obviously I'm in pretty good shape for 55 years old ...
  8. PainfullTruth
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    PainfullTruth - April 11, 2014 9:07 pm
    @Master Baiter,

    Like someone has accurately posted some courses REQUIRE you to take a cart on weekends before noon. So the price is $24 + $14 = $38. WELL ABOVE YOUR FALSE NUMBER OF $22. Why don't you stick to something you know, baiting your hook instead of trying to lecture me about golf.

    Your subsidy statement is another false statement (what else is new)? Like 45acp stated there are government agencies that patrol the waterways and they don't volunteer their services.

    I DO go to private courses like Byron Hills and Golfmohr. Both are cheaper, better ran and better layouts. How do THEY survive? Weekend rate at Golfmohr is $36 and Byron Hills is $37, both are cheaper than Emeis. (Do your homework idiot). They don't survive with Government handouts, taxes, etc. How do they survive for the many years they have been open?

    So again, lecture me about the cost of golf if you want. (You have been proven wrong again). You lied about fishing not receiving government subsidies (what else is new)? You couldn't prove that golf courses wash more fertilizer into the rivers/creeks (what else is new)! Go bait your hook and drop out of this conversation that you have proven to know nothing about.
  9. PainfullTruth
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    PainfullTruth - April 11, 2014 8:58 pm
    @master baiter,

    2014 Golf Rates:

    Emeis - $24.00 + $14.00 cart = $38.00

    I know that you are functionally illiterate and dysfunctional at basic math that that is almost $40.00. Add in range balls and you are well over the $40.00 that I stated. You can do you own research instead of looking like an absolute moron by posting factually inaccurate information if you want. You call me lazy yet you are fishing? LMAO!

    It isn't about what I can afford. I can afford most things that I want to do. It is about paying for what something is WORTH. Something you know nothing about Mr. Baiter. Change your name to Master Baiter of false statements and look up the correct numbers next time.
  10. 45acp
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    45acp - April 11, 2014 6:47 pm
    Go play on weekends with a cart and see what it costs longjohn. Before you say don't take a cart some of our courses require a cart during busy times to keep play moving, but most of us walk when able. How about you don't take a boat?

    You don't like golf longjohn but the PGA has donated over $2 BILLION to charity. That's $2 BILLION. By comparison the NFL has donated $370 Million. How much has your fishing organizations donated?

    You think you have a free sport that isn't subsidized by the rest of us? Laughable! How much does the Coast Guard cost? How about Corps of Engineers? How about the DNR? How about all the $$$ spent on restocking fish, you're welcome! Your little fishing license doesn't come close to covering your expenses. I've even seen them restock in NY state by helicopter. We give you fish, nobody gives us golf balls.
  11. snowman05
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    snowman05 - April 11, 2014 5:00 pm
    I'm pretty sure he's alone most of the time. He wants the gov to spend money on his projects. Wants fishing habitat paid for. I'd like to know if the city took red hawk out of the books, if they'd be showing a profit. Ever since the city bought red hawk there seems to be a deficit. When they had the two courses they made money.
  12. PainfullTruth
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    PainfullTruth - April 11, 2014 3:11 pm
    @littlejohn,

    I will sleep much better tonight knowing that we have a "master baiter" here in the Quad Cities and you have the trophies to prove it. Whew, that was a close one! Unlike yourself I don't need a $.20 trophy to remind myself of my importance in this world, and I certainly don't brag about what I have accomplished, especially fishing. You keep casting your rod down stream and I hope you catch something big some day. Something that you can hang your hat on and brag to your grandchildren about and tell all your fish stories to. Catch all the fish while you can before all the nasty pesticides and fertizlizers kill off your prize trophies. We wouldn't want you to be without another "master baiter" award!

    And on a sidebar, I'm sure you paid all your taxes on your earnings. Legally when you are paid for a sport it is no longer a sport in the eyes of the Government, it is a job. A job that you must pay taxes on. I'm sure you have paid your "fair share" considering you being a good Liberal an all.......
  13. longjohn412
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    longjohn412 - April 11, 2014 2:31 pm
    LMAO .... Max price at Emeis, $24 (Also $22 and $16)

    Palmer Hills isn't run by Davenport, it's Bettendorf and it isn't $40 either even if your lazy butt requires a golf cart the max is $38, $24 if you walk, $21 on weekdays

    Painful Untruths would be a better handle for that guy ...... If he can't afford $10/hour for entertainment maybe he should find a better job .....

  14. PainfullTruth
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    PainfullTruth - April 11, 2014 2:20 pm
    How is that a fail? He is stating that a fact that food stamps are at a all time high. Who do you think pays for that? It isn't the people receiving the food stamps.

  15. longjohn412
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    longjohn412 - April 11, 2014 2:19 pm
    BTW Davenport costs are well below $40 so he's an idiot for paying $40 and then complaining about it when he could have played in Davenport for much less .... $24 max and usually lower

    That's why his post was stupid and irrelevant as I originally pointed out .... That's $6-8 an hour for entertainment and less on everything other than weekend mornings, sounds way too cheap to me ..... No tavern, arena or entertainment venue in the QCA could survive on only 6 bucks an hour per customer ..... Go to a private course and then you get to see how much it really costs .....

  16. PainfullTruth
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    PainfullTruth - April 11, 2014 2:19 pm
    @littlejohn,

    Wow you are really smart. Did you figure that out yourself? So if Palmer is in Bettendorf it doesn't effect your taxes after all or are you just complaining to complain like always?

    So check what the rates are for Emeis and see how much of an increase that the Davenport city council approved for 2014 rates. Scott County park is above $40 for weekend rates also. (That is located in Scott County BTW).
  17. PainfullTruth
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    PainfullTruth - April 11, 2014 2:16 pm
    @littlejohn,

    Not true. Like others have already stated the more you tax/charge for something the less you will receive. Not that we expect you to understand supply & demand principles.
  18. PainfullTruth
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    PainfullTruth - April 11, 2014 2:15 pm
    @littlejohn,

    Do you have proof that golf courses use more fertilizer or is that your opinion? Pony up the proof.
  19. longjohn412
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    longjohn412 - April 11, 2014 1:30 pm
    And by the way that $15 million is 3-4 times what Braindead is spending on fertilizer runoff abatement ...... Only $22 million over 5 years ($4.4 million per year for you math challenged Republican'ts)
  20. longjohn412
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    longjohn412 - April 11, 2014 1:21 pm
    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces $15 Million to Iowa from Excise Taxes on Anglers, Hunters and Boaters

    Recreational Users Provide Record Support for Critical Conservation Projects

    April 8, 2014

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will distribute nearly $1.1 billion in excise tax revenues paid by sportsmen and sportswomen to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to fund fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects across the nation. The Service’s Midwest Region received over $210 million dollars from the excise tax revenues. This funding will be distributed among the Midwest Region’s 8 states including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin by the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.

    “For over 75 years, hunters, shooters, anglers and boaters have supported the conservation of fish and wildlife resources and the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program,” said Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius. “Their support has left a lasting legacy in the Midwest – restoring fish and wildlife populations, improving access for recreational boaters and boosting conservation related education programs helping people to connect with hunting, shooting, fishing and boating.”

    Iowa has been a recipient of user-generated funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for decades. This year the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will receive over $15 million in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration dollars. All of this funding has been invested in restoring and conserving Iowa’s fish and wildlife natural resources. In the past, this funding has supported important projects including Iowa’s Lost Grove Lake recreation site and the restoration of Wildlife Management Areas for native song bird habitat. These programs have had significant impacts on the public outdoor recreation opportunities in Iowa. The 2014 Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program apportionments will support these ongoing projects and new restoration projects. Listed below are examples of conservation projects currently funded through these dollars.
  21. longjohn412
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    longjohn412 - April 11, 2014 1:11 pm
    I have several hobbies, a couple have even made me a lot of money.

    Fishing (and boating) is one of my main ones in recent years. It's a hobby that is not only NOT subsidized it brings in millions to the state for lake, river, habitat and park improvements .... Unlike you I have to pay an extra tax for a license as well as extra taxes on fishing and boating equipment

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces $15 Million to Iowa from Excise Taxes on Anglers, Hunters and Boaters

    Golf experienced a temporary boom mainly because of Tiger Woods and that pretty much went away after they crucified him and interest in golfing went way down after that ..... Meanwhile fishing and boating is more popular than ever

    I also have two Iowa Master Angler awards for excellence in my hobby .... Have any awards for excellence in golfing?
  22. Shoot from the hip
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    Shoot from the hip - April 11, 2014 11:35 am
    I agree that 40 dollars a round at emeis or palmer is too much for this area if you want "packed" courses. a round of golf and a cart should be around 25 dollars. also if a 6 pack could be less than 20 dollars that might help as well.....
  23. 45acp
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    45acp - April 11, 2014 10:49 am
    Slightly lower prices = more rounds of golf = less of your property taxes, DUH. We get it that you don't like golf, what is your hobby longjohn? Let us know and we'll let you know what we think of it. Couch potato?

  24. longjohn412
    Report Abuse
    longjohn412 - April 11, 2014 10:30 am
    Lower prices means MY Property Taxes has to Subsidize your hobby .....

    If the golf hobby is too expensive find another ....

    I'd buy more gas for my boat if it were only a buck a gallon so shouldn't I get a gasoline subsidy for my hobby to match you golf hobby subsidy?
  25. snowman05
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    snowman05 - April 11, 2014 8:02 am
    Now that Feds are spending money to develop a less flatulating cow, because of the methane issue, I'm suggesting they work on you next.
  26. Fortuna facit libertas
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    Fortuna facit libertas - April 11, 2014 7:51 am
    Got rid of the reserved tee times. Got rid of the "bad" food in the concession stands. Raised prices much too far for the market. Just all around bone-headed bad decisions.
  27. billy hoyle
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    billy hoyle - April 11, 2014 7:48 am
    His comment was in reference to declining participation in gen......nevermind, FAIL
  28. longjohn412
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    longjohn412 - April 11, 2014 7:45 am
    Acre per acre golf courses are by far the number one source of fertilizer runoff in Iowa and the US ..... If a farmer got caught using that much fertilizer per acre he'd be slapped with a big fine .... plus he won't be a very good farmer since excess fertilizer could ruin the crop, would raise his operating costs and lower his profit, if any .....

    No such restriction on golf courses, the more the better because the greener the better .... greener as in color not Greener as in more environmentally friendlier ....





  29. longjohn412
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    longjohn412 - April 11, 2014 7:36 am
    Palmer Hills is in Bettendorf not Davenport .....
  30. billy hoyle
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    billy hoyle - April 11, 2014 7:25 am
    How did he p*ss them off? When I was younger, they used to allow reoccurring reserved tee times for the "old timers" - did he squash that?
  31. billy hoyle
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    billy hoyle - April 11, 2014 7:22 am
    FAIL
  32. Fortuna facit libertas
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    Fortuna facit libertas - April 11, 2014 7:11 am
    ** to ** that is. Don't write immediately upon waking up.
  33. PainfullTruth
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    PainfullTruth - April 11, 2014 7:03 am
    I just played Palmer Hills last weekend. With weekend rates at $40 per round I can understand why the rounds are down. Lower prices will increase participation, not higher rates. I will be playing elsewhere from now on.
  34. Fortuna facit libertas
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    Fortuna facit libertas - April 11, 2014 6:52 am
    The biggest detriment to the Davenport municipal courses was Seve Gohse. He pissed off a whole lot of regulars and they went elsewhere. It may take a while too recover from his ill-advised management.
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